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What Letting Go Of Protective Styles Taught Me About Natural Hair Shame

Five key lessons were learned that have been more than freeing.

Hair

It was December of 2009 that I made an impromptu decision to cut my permed hair off. My reason for making that drastic change was due to ending a dating relationship at the time and the painful experience I went through from relaxing my hair in my dorm a couple of months prior. Cutting my hair immediately left me feeling bold yet boy-ish whenever I found myself dressing down or not wearing lavish earrings. After several months experimenting with wearing twist-outs, dyeing it myself (I was extra bold with that) and even getting my first blowout (that later resulted in heat damage), I thought I'd been hiding my beautiful kinks due to laziness.


However, the truth is that I was intimidated by and ashamed of my hair.

Well 10 years after back-to-back crochet braids, sew-ins, wigs, and braids, I decided to just let my hair out to breathe for once! As a result, I learned five important things:

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1. When you are not taught how to properly care for your natural hair, you see it as a barrier.

It was not until I was put in a position to care for my hair that I had no choice but to do it. It was a rocky start because I felt defeated and really believed I had no options until I gave experimenting on my hair another chance. The more I continued to play around in my hair, without a defeated mindset, the more I grew to love it and no longer felt intimidated by caring for it.

2. Finally wearing my natural hair ​actually ​boosted my confidence.

I felt more beautiful and confident when my natural hair was out. There is nothing wrong with wearing a weave or braids! (I repeat, there is nothing wrong! In fact, I will probably wear a protective hairstyle soon.) But it was not until I let my hair out in a 'fro that I looked in the mirror and embraced my strong jawline and beautifully shaped eyes.

I realized that my previous hairstyles were my hiding place and it was not until I let my hair out that I felt free. You need confidence to rock any hairstyles, however, it takes a special kind of confidence to rock your hair in its natural state. That confidence is truly felt in every room you walk into.

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3. Hair is literally versatile from its roots.

Whether you decide to leave it out, cut it, relax it, dye it, wear a wig or braids, our hair is not one-size-fits-all and that is why Black hair is beautiful. Being able to do a multitude of things with my hair at any time is truly unique and empowering.

4. Media played a major role in how I viewed the beauty of my hair.

Since I rarely saw women with 4C hair in the media, I felt helpless with how I could care for my hair and as a result wore my hair in back-to-back protective hairstyles. It was not until I came across Ijeoma Kola online that I felt seen because sis' hair looks just like mine and she always has amazing style tips!

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5. Starting over and cutting my hair was a really dope feeling.

When I did my big chop, I wanted a change, and what better way to do so by cutting off dead weight: the hair that carried so many negative memories with the guy. There was a sense of freedom and relief when a pair of scissors caressed the strands of hair on my scalp.

As you can see, Black hair is not only beautiful, and it is a never-ending learning experience of self. My relationship with my hair has had its ups and downs, but in the end, it led me to a healthier outlook.

To get your beauty fix and to stay up to date with the latest trends, check out the xoNecole Beauty section here.

Featured image via Getty Images

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